Two filmmakers are raising money to take 1,000 girls and their families to see a film the girls themselves are starring in, showing that women can and do play football in Argentina. And you can help change the way girls see themselves and society sees them by donating on Ideame to get them to the cinema.
Documentary film ‘Mujeres Con Pelotas’ (‘Goals for Girls: A Story of Women with Balls’) tells the story of a group of young women from a Villa 31, a shantytown in Buenos Aires who fight to form their own football team. The girls overcome ingrained sexism and marginalisation to eventually realise their dream of competing in the Homeless World Cup in Brazil.
The film uses this story as a jumping off point to tell the “ignored story” of woman’s football in Argentina, and to show the benefits girls gain by participating in the sport and fighting to do what they love.
The filmmakers want to bring not only the girls who starred in the film, but other girl football players from poor neighbourhoods, and their families, to the screening. “Taking them to the movies to see themselves or girls like them playing on the big screen would greatly validate what they are doing,” explains filmmaker Ginger Gentile. She and co-director, Gabriel Balanovsky, were inspired to make the film to spread the story of the girls struggle.
The film was featured in “Good Pitch Buenos Aires” on 10th August, an event created by Sundance Institute and Britdoc to match documentary films with private and public sector support. To enable more people to participate, Good Pitch will be curating projects on ideame.
“We want the film to be an event and to inspire debate in society. While playing football is not revolutionary, many people in Argentina — men and women — believe that it is for men only. Already the comments on social media we have been getting show this,” said Balanovsky.
“More than opposition they face a lack of support,” Gentile adds. “A lot of the families will go see their sons play, but not their daughters.”
In the trailer, which you can watch here, they tell the story of how the girls have to fight for respect. Many people don’t believe woman’s football is really football. “You can’t compare female football with male football for genetic reasons,” asserts sports commentator and TV personality Gastón Recondo, while a female voice adds, “when women play football they look like men.”“If a girl plays football she is criticised, for how she looks, for how she moves, she is accused of being gay,” explains coach Mónica Santino.
The girls struggle not just in football,but in their lives. “The biggest problem the girls from the Villa 31 face is structural poverty and exclusion,” Gentile says.
The football team is not a “miracle pill,” but it gives the girls a healthy outlet to express their frustrations and anger, build responsibility and teamwork- they teach the girls to pass, rather than just to try to score goals. It has given many of the girls a chance to travel, build self-esteem and a to imagine things outside of the villa.
At first the filmmakers had thought to project the film in the villa but they realised that “it would be much more inclusive to actually go to a cinema.” Many of the girls have never been to one, and one of the reasons for this, aside from cost, is exclusion, explains Gentile.
The filmmakers experienced firsthand the exclusion and discrimination the girls face when they leave the villa one time when they took some of the girls to see a film as part of a video workshop. “We were followed by two police officers. These were 13-15 year old girls,” she said. “Most of them, if they don’t have to, don’t leave the villa …they feel very attacked by society.”
“The magic of the movies combined with seeing their own story on the big screen,” will be very incredibly inspiring, Gentile predicts.
A big film company, Gentile notes, would normally have the funds to invite people to their film, but due to limited funding, the company has turned to Ideame.
They offer prizes for donations, ranging from a mention on the website for the minimum contribution of $32, to a professional video for an event of your choosing, with $14,976. This is the market rate for a professional video, explains Gentile, so “the cool thing about this prize is you can get your wedding video or a sweet 15 birthday film made by two filmmakers and take almost 500 girls to the movies at the same time.”
While they hope to reach their goal of 1,000 people, they will be happy for whatever they can get out of the ideame campaign – “even if we just get one donation, that’s one more person that can see the film.”
Just $32 (US$6) will take one girl to see the film, including ticket and transport. Learn more and donate here.